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tv   Hearing on Americas Tourism Industry After COVID-19  CSPAN  June 9, 2021 12:37am-1:56am EDT

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actually, it's much more than that. comcast is creating a wi-fi so students from low income families can get the tools they need to be ready for anything. giving you a front row seat to democracy. >> now a subcommittee looks at how the tourism and hospitality heindustry had been impacted by the pandemic. professionals from the industry answered questions on several topics including the need for further investment into the industry, workforce shortages, the impact of business travel and the importance of consistent messaging from government agencies regarding protocols.
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good afternoon and welcome to today's hearing investing in america's tourism and hospitality workforce and small businesses. today we will examine the state of the tourism and hospitality workforce in the wake of the pandemic as well as the experiences and challenges of the tourism hospitality related businesses and those businesses outside the industry who nonetheless depend on travel and tourism to bring in customers. also communities that rely on tourism and hospitalityit workforce and receive insight how congress can support workers and small businesses as a travel and tourism industry. the hospitality industry
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continues to experience severe pandemic related impacts and consequentially, so do the workers in that industry. from nevada it is almost 25% of our workforce. prior to the p pandemic in 2019, the jobet market exhibited signs of strength with the seasonally adjusted ratedj of 3% just over% unemployment rate among workers covered by unemployment insurance. however by mid march of 2020 as the world began seeing the impacts of the public health crisis, situations started to change dramatically. the adjusted unemployment rate is 26% followed by a steep and unprecedented increase to 30% in april of 2020. the highest unemployment rate in the nation i might add. for two weeks, initial unemployment claims increased just over 6,002 over 92,000
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claims. this significant rise in part reflects the reliance on leisure and hospitality employment in the state economy. tourism drives most of the demand and hospitality industry and covid-19 estimated tourism. at the onset of the crisis, the leisure and hospitality sector was the largest contributor to the salary unemployment. in february, 2020, the hospitality sector employed over 356,000 workers to the state with an overall population of just a little over 3 million. taken together the state suggests it's probably borne the brunt of unemployment in nevada. according to the bureau of statistics nationwide at the leisure and hospitality lost 2.8 million jobs during the pandemic that have yet to return. this represents more than 25% of
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all unemployed persons in the united states. the 99% of businesses in nevada that are small businesses have also struggled particularly minority owned small businesses who are far too often disproportionately impacted economic slowdowns w and left behind in economic recovery. we've made support one of my top priorities during the pandemic and i call on my colleagues here today to not lose sight of the fact that this has been an uneven recovery one in which small businesses and workers in the hardest hit states will continue to meet our help until we are fully passed the pandemic. we will build back better. it's justt going to take time ad investments. many industries are starting to come back, statewide leisure and hospitality industry is only 70% of70 the peak employment levelss found more than 106,000 jobs.
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it is an increase of 2.5 over 2016ch levels. and it's much higher than the nationwide figure of just over 10%. unions helped to improve the relationships and working conditions. tias a college student coming he from the summer i was a member of the local 226 when i waited tables at caesar's palace it represents approximately 60,000e
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workers and organizes the main casino and hotel properties of the las vegas strip and downtown represents housekeepers, bartenders and many others. the workers union spent a lifeline for the hospitality workforce in nevada and the fact the very last in-person meeting i took at capitol hill before we closed our offices in march due to the pandemic was with mr. taylor, president of united, the union which it is affiliated so i am pleased to have him here today testifying as an expert witness. going above and beyond the pandemice to support the workes they've represented even running their own food bank the local economy was in the most dire situation and in the early months of the pandemic when 98% of the more than 300,000 united workers were out of work, mr. taylor and the union is stood byr the members and i look forward to the testimony how we
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get the tourism and hospitality moving again. it to share their expertise, insight recommendations we have in nevada zone newsroom chair of the las vegas urban chamber of commerce which works to provide access to local, national and global markets response to the businesses in southern nevada. the florida attraction association, which promotes and advances thees interests of the businesses and the attraction industry and world travel holdings leisure company. it is my hope today's hearing will help us better understand the challenges that small businesses and the hospitality workforce, the challenges that they face as a result of depressed business and leisure travel caused by the pandemic and today's hearing will provide a forum of her and engaging discussion on how to support
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workers, small businesses as they recover. thank you all again for being here today. i look forward to hearing each of you share your experiences and expertise and now i will turn over to the ranking member scott for his opening statement and then we will introduce the witnesses. senator scott. >> we very much depend on the tourism industry and have wonderful witnesses today that willto talk about the impact tht it's had on the small businesses. people from all over the world come to enjoy the beaches, attractions and all the state has to offer. when i was governor we worked hard to grow the industry and were able to grow it from about
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80 a year to about 126 million each of those years. i know the pandemic has impacted each of us differently and all of the small businesses differently. we had to adapt to make sure families, businesses and employees stay safe. unfortunately the pandemic has hit florida's travel and tourism industry that comes with a chain of economic impacts on the restaurants, small businesses and families and i know the chair has seen the same thing in the las vegas and nevada. i'm glad to see florida has been open for business again. but in order for the state and the nation to fully reopen and get the economy back on track we have to continue to work togetherbs. i supported the targeted aid for thisar but i've been clear that the federal government shouldn't be paying americans more to stay home than to go back to work.
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i'm glad to see governors across the nation taking action to get their systems back to work and i'm also on a bill with several of my colleagues to support our small businesses and get americans back to work and get the economy fully open. wee also always have to make sue that we help those that still need our help. also very focused on getting the resumption of the cruise line operations, something that hopefully a lot of people from las vegas enjoy but so many of the businesses and workers that rely on the cruise industry have standstill for over a year now. you t can go to restaurants, amusement parks, stay in a hotel, but the cdc has made it difficult for the industry to get started again. i'm glad that they are finally answering my calls to get things moving in the right direction. so the cruise industry can get back to work but the cdc has
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treated the cruise industry terribly the past year and i will continue my flight to work to make sure we reach a quick solution to keep people safe. as the nation works to recover and get the economy back on track i remain committed to doing everything i can to support the industry and i look forward to hearing from all the witnesses and want to thank the chair for organizing this hearing and inviting the witnesses she's invited and to understand how covid-19 has impacted our industries and how we can help them succeed so thank you. it's not the same as the caribbean cruise but you can have a nice a dinner cruise on both of those.
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thank you. i'd like to introduce the first witness testifying with us remotely today. the international president of the united with over 40 years it's helped in nevada to its current membership level of approximately 60,000 members you are now recognized for your opening remarks. >> it is an honor and a privilege to speak in front of you all.
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hopefully this is the last hearing i will be involved in. we represent over 300,000 members in the united states and canada at the beginning of the pandemic 98% of the workers were laid off and even today, 50 to 60% are still not working. but still it is far behind it thanwhat it was before the pand. in atlantic city we have about 75% of our members back and in ohio about 75. detroit about 65, mississippi about 65. las vegas as, little over 50% ad new orleans, 32%. and some of the reasons why the workers are not back is because
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casinos have moved to eliminate a fair amount and also changes in housekeeping. and food service. we have about 70% of the workers back but that's been through the cares act and traditional cafeterias about 55%. in airport concessions when people come through about 45% and stadiums and arenas less than 40% and convention centers 5%io or less and there's concern there about when those jobs will come back. and in hotel employment, there's a bifurcation in the sum of those leisure markets like florida, arizona and hawaii we are starting to return back to
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pre- levels but it's not where it was. and the markets that have been relying on business, international travel, those numbers are so far below what it was before the pandemic it's affected the ability of people to come back to work. we have a concern for the last two downturns after 9/11 and the great recession some of those temporary job reductions became permanent and in fact between 2001 and 2019 hotel industry employment decreased by 20% and we have issues that we found to be perplexing in many cases we've heard about the inability to get people to come back to work and at the same time some of that has been caused by the inability of companies to say you have the right to be
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recalled and as we all know, all the workers that are terminated one in ten will learn much less than what they earned previously so on the one hand, we have a cry for workers and on the other hand the basic idea you can understand that quandary. in fact here in las vegas we had that problem where they fired 700,000 workers so they have to start all over. they got money from the payroll support program.
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in disney for example they've done tremendous work and into the florida system which as everybody knows had some serious issues. they stepped up completely to extend benefits. both with companies and workers thank you so much.
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for the states and in part in the cities and so now i would like to turn it over. senator scott.
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the florida association or the other faa is representing the tourist attraction industry. the states man-made attractions to now the most popular theme park destinations. many of the members represent third and fourth generation operators of the families attractions and 40% have annual paid attendance.
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the small business was a great help. they work with of the members and the governments to apply best practices and the tourist environment to provide the protections and vital transmissions. the objective is clear as they
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travel to other destinations often when the thin day's drive they were particularly popular national parks, state parks have the benefit of providing the fresh air and sunshine. the 14% decline in florida in 21 to 2020. what we need clear policy coordination between agencies such as the cdc, department of transportation and other public agencies with guidance in the
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pandemic. the changes in the cdc guidance and the changes left many businesses scrambling and even today guidance from the cdc and the department of transportation could be used as being conflicting. we know many of the members are experiencing this in part because of the continued payment with state unemployment insurance benefits. the workforce requirement at the end of the compensation program at the end of next month. by 2029 only 20% of the teams would participate in the labor force down from 19781 amusement
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park is discovered even wages are not the answer and this year of 100% increase from ten dollars to $20 per hour. number three, as discussed in the last hearing the cruise industry and industry that i have no direct professional role is for the competitors with each other to achieve the individual and collective business objectives. addressing these issues allowing the kids to support the brand usa with the tourism economy forward thank you for your leadership in supporting the hospitality workers and small business. i look forward to working with you and answering your questions. thank you.
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>> for the chamber of commerce mr. newsom is a ten year veteran of the air force and small business owner for the past 15 years he connects small business owners with the resources and access they need to both regional and global markets. you are recognized for your opening remarks. >> currently i chaired the chamber of commerce cochair small business for america's future, serve as a trustee for the las vegas chamber of commerce and cochair for the
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issues committee. an extremely engaged and involved in my small and minority business community. today i'm here to speak directly to investing in the tourism and hospitality workforce and a small business and i want to thank senator rosen, a true small-business champion for the opportunity to address you. after serving in the military, i worked for the family-owned small business casinos in nevada as a marketing director. this is where i connected the dots between the workforce and small businesses the small businesses also benefited from the need to review the products and services and we purchased balloons and many products and services from local small business vendors. the las vegas casinos produced many jobs and procurement opportunities for small
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businesses. but i know that many of you outside of nevada may not realize that there are small casino operators like henderson, rainbow with my friend tim brooks as the owner and in north las vegas. despite being the entertainment capital of the world and destination, in particular in southern nevada it is a small type of community. we all feel a burden. the impact of the decrease in business and leisure travel is felt from the major corporations to the smallest main street companies they were canceled
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immediately calling instant closures and much uncertainty. once we were clear to open again with social distancing the firm decided to create office space for children to attend school remotely giving their parents comfort and peace of mind. with team members working remotely with all days in office to keep everyone safe. we followed the science and survived with no major concerns. investing in america's tourism and hospitality workforce and small business is a safe bet, pun intended, for this country. i implore the committee to double down on the recent successful american rescue plans by investing in america's tourism and hospitality
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workforce and small business to rebuild our economy. in addition, we should all push all of our kids to the middle of the table on the american jobs plan. to rebuild our infrastructure and to create necessary jobs for individuals and contracts for small businesses. thank you for realizing the importance of the tourism travel and hospitality industry and small business industry. we are all winners when we invest this way. thank you very much. >> thank you for your remarks on tourism and small business between the two. senator scott, i'm going to turn over to you to introduce the fourth and final witness, please. >> here today to represent world
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travel holdings he began working for the company as a travel agent and now he runs the dream vacations cruise line divisions and also serves on the steering committee for the cruise line international association. welcome. >> thank you, senator scott and members of the subcommittee. thank you for your efforts to bring attention to the devastating economic impacts of the industry workers and small businesses across the u.s. due to the pandemic. it is an honor and a privilege to represent the vacation travel advisor. travel agents to do in fact existed over the years they've evolved into travel advisors. travel advisors play a critical role helping to plan travel for business and leisure purposes. today the industry comprises tens of thousands of travel advisors running their own
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businesses and the majority of them work from home and are building their business in their neighborhoods backyards and communities. we support thousands of business owners around the country who took a chance to create something that was their own. some have been doing it more than 30 years and quite a few started their business in the midst of the pandemic. all travel advisors earn a living based on what they sell their customers and they get paid when the customers actually travel. one that is especially important to the travel advisors is the cruise industry. 78% of all vacations booked by a travel advisor in the industry include the large portion of their business. more than a 70% of the bookings made today are said to depart in 2022 or later, which means these businesses will not get paid largely for another year. despite industry-leading particles and improving other
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regions of the world it's been almost 16 months since they departed and ultimately infecting the livelihood of tens of thousands of small business owners during that time. it's the only travel and tourism sector in the united states that is still shut down. thank you so much for your support and the passage last week of the restoration act and we are thrilled to see the signing of the bill. alaska is a critical cruise market not just in terms of the bookings but also the jobs supported by the passengers to visit the state. my written testimony on the impact of the travel industry but there are a few statistics specifically. the reduction. for the cruise industry it
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represents 39 billion in total economic losses. we had to go back and another getting a job at a local grocery store. we are so grateful to the strong economic support provided by the cares act it provided much
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needed to many of these small businesses and workers in the travel and tourism sector. the stories that we hear are truly heartbreaking. finally, the return is a vital step. the biggest hurdle now for the continued success are all forms of travel to combat.
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i promise travel advisors are going to play a key role in helping to get americans traveling and boosting economic recovery across the entire country. i want to thank all of the witnesses for joining today for the thoughtful statements. i'm going to start off with a small businesses and then move off to mr. taylor about the hospitality workforce. they know they struggle to keep their doors open due to covid-19. paycheck protection program,
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restaurant revitalization fund help small businesses stay afloat on the payroll. unfortunately, it ran out of the funds. they have the confidence to travel once again. it recovers from the economic impact of this public health crisis.
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continuing to provide access to capital to small and minority businesses as we know systemically have been a challenge. opening up the alternative lending resources have been beneficial. the other thing that i mentioned not only challenged going back to work a lot of the employees are not just challenged with any
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funding from a package or unemployment but a lot of them are starting with childcare. in the resources that help small businesses and small business owners to become better. i learned a lot from those industries.
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to make sure we are not spending all of our money on healthcare. don't forget to small businesses we do appreciate what has happened that there's a lot more to be done. >> that is a good segue. thank you to mr. taylor. cobra insurance was covered during the pandemic and people lost their job to no fault of their own and we secure that and know how important it was to the culinary workers union.
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so just a few seconds i have left we will go to a second round of course. it's fully subsidized benefits had on your members in the hospitality and tourism industry. basically what the hospitality industry employers continue to provide healthcare benefits so in the middle of a healthcare pandemic we have people losing healthcare so this has been a huge plus under the american rescue plan. it's for six months and if i was
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looking ahead at what congress can do they often had to requalify for healthcare. right when we were shut down right in the middle of the pandemic we had people losing healthcare. i can't think of anything more impactful that came under the american rescue plan then 100% cobra rescue. >> senator scott, you are recognized. >> can we talk about some of the challenges that they've had with labor shortages? can you talk about some of the
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issues that your industries had with labor shortages? when you were governor you increased by 50%. certainly the economics are continuing to drive the visitors to the sunshine state has put even more strain on the labor market. it also has affected wages. it isn't something talked about
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anymore as employers are paying significantly more than minimum wage. one of the things that is interesting is teens are less and less inclined to participate in summer jobs and traditionally summer time is when you go back and get the job and earn a few bucks and learn some skills and accept responsibility but there is interesting statistics that illustrate less and less teens are participating and there's the inability to provide visas for the summer workforce program for international students that come in to participate to learn
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about america while working in the summer time but this year the number is only about 5%. i think in our industry they need to do a better job demonstrating and telling our story of why particularly entry-level jobs are important and in fact statistics demonstrate by age 50 they are earning more per year than those that started their career in healthcare, manufacturing or other industries so it is a great entry-level opportunity and that is to get more people
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interested. >> can you talk about how many jobs rely on the cruise industry directly and indirectly in the united states and florida and do you believe they will return? >> thank you for the question. i do think as we are seeing we have the funds coming up right now about 300,000 due to the pandemic. i do believe based on what we are seeing is the return to normal and in 2022 for the local advisors and their communities it's never been greater so it's
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going to be a return and ultimately it impacts more than just the jobs in the cruise industry per se but it's the ancillary industries as well that affect hospitality and the local areas where as well into other markets. >> do you believe both customers, passengers and workers can come back and operate safely? >> health and safety protocols has never been more important. and i think the enhancements they've had the past 16 months understanding the science that we have been seeing in our own backyards when someone is traveling and eating a meal and now showing pictures of someone in an airport or hotel and what
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we are seeing or will see is the safety protocols that help at the cruise lines partnered to ensure they are working with the experts and science finding the right solutions so they can safely return to service with social distancing. that's going to be a significant factor. >> thank you, mr. daley and chair rosen. >> we are going to give a moment to get into her seat and then she will ask the next question. she's been kind enough to join us here in person even though so much of the hearings have been remote so we are happy to see her here. senator klobuchar. thank you very much for your great work in nevada and across
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the country when it comes to tourism as well as thank you, senator scott. i know that last week you had aa hearing on international tourism and really important topic. we lead the brand usa reauthorization and i guess i would start with that in your testimony you emphasize the importance of that when it comes to international travel and one recent report found of international travel doesn't begin to reopen soon the u.s. is expected to lose 175 billion by the end of 2021. can you talk about the importance of the role in the past and what we need to do going forward?
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>> there's the county, state level and for a long time with the marketing office at this point they are working with your state office and national office at the brand usa to spread the good news of the destinations that america has to offer. the united states is an incredible country and our history and culture and resources are unlike anything else although we are a relatively small country.
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so, what attracts internationals is so different and what the team are able to offer is an incredible opportunity for all members of the tourism and travel community to participate in sharing the story with people around the world. a. >> we may not have alligators in minnesota. with that i'm going to turn it over to my good friend, mr. taylor. i want to ask you about business travel because the hotel industry is expected to be down 500,000 by the end of 2021 partly due to predicted permanent changes and business
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travel so even as we get out of the pandemic, there's going to be a longer transition when it comes to business travel. can you talk about that problem and i think one report found one half are to remain empty. what should we do when it comes to business travel and resolving this problem? >> i appreciate the question. tax incentives for the conventions and or business travel should be temporarily looked at because in the kind of big hotels in the cities they rely heavily on business travel and without that, those job protections are compared to
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bleak. we all worry about a jobless recovery because they've made it very clear not doing certain things we've always assumed. the final thing is if you look at almost every major metropolitan area first, second, third we have to figure out how we view those jobs as just as important as manufacturing jobs and as important as retail jobs. no one talks about hospitality jobs. it's easy to do that in florida or nevada but avon and minneapolis and st. paul it is a huge part of that area where people come to et cetera. so we have to change our
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dialogue and do promotions like that and incentives like we do in other industries. >> you want to add anything to that? >> when it comes to how we view things and one of the things that's important is the unprecedented partnerships that we have created through these tough times i think that adversity creates strange bedfellows but in this case it means that all of the organizations come together and work together to help with tourism and thinking through things in a different way. that's the beauty of entrepreneurship and small business is that we think
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outside of the box and in some cases we don't have a box because we are focused on trying to solve a problem. thank you very much. appreciate it. >> thank you senator klobuchar. now joining us, senator blackburn. >> thank you so much and for continuing to work on this. when you talk about tourism of course memphis, nashville, east tennessee with the great smoky mountains which is the most visited part in our federal park system we have been really hit by this and as i talk to leaders in the industry whether it is the tourism industry or the motorcoach industry and some of the small businesses in gatlinburg or the support crew
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what i'm hearing is labor shortage and the increase in federal unemployment benefits as having a significant adverse impact on our labor pool and it's why our governor in tennessee is ending the end of next month. so am i saying you're name right first? >> yes you are. i know miami and orlando are very similar for the way that nashville and the smoky mountains area is. talk to me about how the industry tries to recover how
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are these cities that are event centric going to be able to handle these labor pressures and i appreciate that you mentioned the worker program department of state. that has impacted us also so give me just a minute on that issue. >> thank you very much for the question. the event industry and conventions are probably one of the two week links the second would be international travel and the fact that it is down 14% of the last quarter of the last year indicates the domestic recovery already but it is a problem because the programs in florida have also been eliminated at the end of next
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month but it predates the pandemic and i think one of the messages is there is great opportunity and we need to do a better job of working with colleges and universities and high schools in careers and hospitality and tourism industry. it is a great entrepreneurial industry with great responsibility and it's an area where we need to do a better job for people who want to be part of the industry. in last week's hearing i mentioned the cbc, dhs, dot needed to come together on guidance to open up international travel. i know mr. daley would like to see that happen. and i appreciated you said guidance could be viewed as
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conflicting. talk a little bit about why it is an imperative that these federal agencies get on the same page so we can get this travel opened up. it usually takes place that first week of june in nashville and it is a big international destination. >> specific conflicts i was thinking or protocols dealing with the virus and the cdc comes out periodically and it's really what the news media uses to communicate where we are and the inconsistency between the messaging of the cdc and what the department of transportation says and finally how apparently it's chasing with the cdc has been trying to keep up or unable
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to and another website basically says don't look here, look there. but these agencies need to communicate how to stay safe. >> i couldn't agree more. mr. newsom appreciated your testimony about small businesses that contract to the hotels because in nashville we have a lot of people that provide a swag for concerts and a lot of them will tell you the concert business is 50 or 60% of their business for the year so when that shuts down, they lost most of their revenue. is that what you are seeing in nevada? >> absolutely. thank you for that question. one of the things that happen we forget about the hairstylists and the people that are the wardrobe specialists and some of the small businesses that
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provide microphones and different things like that. everybody is impacted from top to bottom when the industry sites down and entertainment goes away and i'm happy to say this week we were talking about live entertainment coming back to las vegas because now that creates so many opportunities and new jobs, so yes it absolutely did impact a lot of jobs and small business. >> i think they are that an entireecosystem of the industry. they do the t-shirts and the hats and i'm with you. let's get this money back to those small businesses and help them get back on their feet. thank you madam chair. >> thank you, senator blackburn. i'd like to open up to another
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round of questioning from senator scott. >> for the individuals that have been able to go back, how have you helped your employers create a safe work environment and i'm sure that it's been difficult. how have you been able to do that? >> thank you, senator scott. the nuance of health and safety i didn't meet a company in the industry that didn't have huge protocols about people going back to work. obviously as everybody knows certain companies to get quite seriously. the quickest way to get people
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back into the industry to come back is to feel safe. and what we found, for example, i know the work i did in las vegas around this issue is we had to explain to everybody you can't just be safe in one casino or one hotel. you have to also look at the customers. obviously the same message went throughout. the best way to get people back is to incentivize folks to get vaccinated and they have very regular testing because anybody wants to feel safe and i think that is just a fundamental thing and as i said earlier, i think it was exemplary for example.
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there've been some exemplary companies about this and there've been some who are not and those who are not i think jeopardize everybody else. more and more have a level playing field the better off we will be because at the end of the day it relies on two things. people to have income in order to go places but also to have the security and feeling of safety and then finally, it is to view them as a service product that brings back loyalty, et cetera. sometimes we have companies understand that very well and some do not.
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do you believe over the next 12 months, the industry you work with is going to come back and we will have all the jobs back that we lost during the pandemic? >> that's kind of our problem right now but here's the good news for the folks in florida. our spring break season was extraordinary and exceeded expectations. we own the three attractions that experienced attendance records in april for this year and what we are seeing now in the summer is a tremendous
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demand on florida, coast to coast with pre- bookings. this is going to be an exceptional summer season. the only thing holding us back i think a year from now if covid continues to decline and if there's not any additional big outbreaks as the world comes out of this, florida and the united states will be at a great place. >> i have a couple more questions i would like to ask. there's been a lot of discussion about the economy being in a cover a i am pleased to hear florida is coming back and some of the businesses have had record attendance. i'm sure that will continue the
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bureau released state-by-state numbers this past friday so 21 states still have a rate of 6% or higher and are still at 8% or higher. it depends on travel and tourism it's actually the highest at 8.5%. the other end we have a dozen estates with rates under 4%. given how it does look different in different parts of the country. for my state which relies heavily on tourism and our small businesses, we still do need that help and last week and the subcommittee we talked about how each of the states have so much
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that's unique and it's beautiful to offer and its economic impact so a pandemic related benefit that may not be needed in some parts of the country may still be needed in others. i want to ask a couple questions based on your experience and all of your conversations how excited are your members to get back to work and number two, what has the federal unemployment meant to those workers when we are still 50% back in las vegas and not
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robustly back yet? >> i know there is nothing more they want to do but to go back to work. they don't view this as a temporary job. this is their profession. it's been a lifesaver because no one gets rich on unemployment. the reserve bank of philadelphia said it's been a huge prevention of frankly homelessness even though as we know in many major cities, it is a problem and it's
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helped tremendously on that. i never thought i would see the kind of food banks that i've seen but i know that in nevada as you know they've had a food bank four days a week since march of last year they distributed over 14 tons of food and frankly that keeps going. when i hear 8% i have no idea where they get that number because in the hospitality industry whether it's restaurants, hotels, concert venues those are not to back. the money for food and the
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moratorium has been key so i cannot thank you enough but nobody wants any of that stuff. people have pride. they want to work with their hands and meet their customers. they want to see the loyal people come back. that is frustrating and at the same time you could open up a place in the world but if people don't feel safe, they are not going to come back. we have to try to get international travel moving again. you can see the greatest things in the world here and obviously part of that has to do with safety and i appreciate the work that you have done to. our pandemics really had an impact on our workers of color
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of the small business owners. it's a disproportionately impacted and concentrated in hospitality. during the recession that began in 28, 2008, latinos experienced some of the highest levels of unemployment. as of 2018, the year for when the most recent data is available, 32% of latinos and 34% of asianswe which were employed in leisure and hospitality suggest workers are at t higher risk of unemployment during economic downturns because of what happens at the sectors. what we've talked about, they've been traditionally mainstage for many of the occupations they've also been disproportionately impacted. as you are the chair of the urban chamber, mr. newsom, how are the minority owned
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businesses working to ensure that workers of color and the hospitality and tourism industry are not left behind, and you talked about it a little bit. specific things that we may do in some of those communities to be sure thatt we keep our small businesses growing every which way we can? >> thank you for that. i was infected by losing 50% of my business which we spent a lot of time working with construction firms and the hospitalityy industry. one of the things that's important is that we have to keep investing and keep members investing in tourism and in the jobs act because building the infrastructure is really what helped nevada make a turn for the better when it came to the small and minority firms and when it came to rebuilding our
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economy because as you know, we passed the tax and about the stadium and the conventionte center. those things brought back jobs and not only that but the legislature in their wisdom put in the law that 15% of the contracts would go to small businesses. the focus on that has brought back a lot of the workforce and people back from where they wanted to work and i agree people don't want to sit at home and are not trying to figure out how they can just relax on the small amount of support that they have received. as you know, the chamber in support with our biggest chambers work together. the fact that everybody comes
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close north and south most people try to divide us, but we are all in the same boat and we typically come together to make sure a that if the least of us suffers we make sure that we all chip in the so the minority ownedd communities have the support of these investments and some of the innovation we are talking about plus it also helps to build our infrastructure and then everybody working to recover together and i call it rebounding because i think it means you're bouncing back and recovery is going back to where you were. i think we need to go better and stronger than where we were before. >> senator, do you have anything else otherwise i am going to
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close out the hearing. >> i want to thank all of the witnesses for being here today for your work and passion and care and communities and everything you do. i appreciate you all. for the record, this will remain open for two weeks until tuesday june 8th, 2021. any senators that would like to submit questions for the record should do so by june 8th, 2021. for those who testified today we ask your responses be returned to the committee as quickly as possible and no later than two weeks after receipt. that concludes today's hearing. i thank you.
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[inaudible conversations] will [inaudible conversations]
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is divided tuesday before the two senate committees on the adst


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